January 28, 2023

(Every year in Hawaii the Honolulu Advertiser has the reader voted Ilima awards…as we looked at the winners the other day there were plenty of “oh my gods’ at what the masses choose…best coffee bar…Starbucks!…(no offense to the barrista friends there but c’mon…Coffee Talk is way better…) with that in mind here are the alternate Ilima awards from Ma’ona. That’s it for now…cd)
ma’ona: The 2005 `Ilima Awards, if it were up to me
The 2005 `Ilima Awards, if it were up to me
As of the time of this post, we’ve only lived on the island of O`ahu for one year and four months. That hardly qualifies me as an expert on local dining.
Having said that, I’ve made an effort to get out and try as much as possible since we’ve been here. I may not be an expert, but I know what I like when I see it. Yesterday I gave my opinions on several `Ilima Award winners, some good some bad. If I could give awards of my own, this is what they would be.
Best Plate Lunch: Kenneke’s
They make a mean chicken long rice, and the staff are amazingly warm and friendly. Other highlights include their haupia and a generous pork laulau.
Best Pau Hana: Indigo
Although their happy hour runs every day from 5-7pm, the biggest crowds turn out on Fridays for the half priced martinis among funky opium den decor. Their award-winning sake martini with cucumber stands out among a list of mostly sweet and fluffy drinks.
Best Shave Ice: Waiola Store, McCully
Ahead by a nose in my own little shave ice competition. That’s saying something on this island, where every block can have its own shave ice sensei.
Best Vegan You Can Eat Alongside a Gas Station Pump:
The Vegan Gourmet Okay, so it’s not really a gas station any more. Three businesses lease an old gas station on Manoa Rd and share the space: A Beautiful Day Cafe, Boston Waffles and The Vegan Gourmet. The latter serves macrobiotic lunches Monday through Wednesday. Go early, because she always sells out.
Best Chain Restaurant for Watching Friday Night Fireworks Over the Ala Wai Marina: California Pizza Kitchen, Ala Moana
Every Friday night at 7:45pm, the Hilton Hawaiian Village shoots off a short fireworks display near the marina on the Ewa end of Waikiki. If you can score a window seat at CPK, you’ll have a perfect view looking across treetops and yachts to the colorful explosions as you munch your pizza.
Best Place to Celebrate a Birthday: Roy’s, Hawaii Kai
Maybe it’s just my birthday, but it contains all the right elements: great food, solid service and dining that transcends what I can afford on a daily basis. After a visit to Roy’s, I feel like I’ve dined somewhere special.
Best at Learning Your Name: Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies
Despite daily lines out the door of people drawn in by their roasted turkey sandwich, Andy’s is still the kind of neighborhood place where they ask your name, and remember it the next visit. The food is great too.
I stand by these choices until death, or until the breeze shifts, whichever comes first.

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